Positioning Acoustic Treatments Sound Absorption Panels in Apartment - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I'm nearing completion of my Apartment Home Theater, Operation: Acoustic Absorption, and thought I'd better clear it with the experts before I go further. I've been scouring website and forums to learn as much as possible about DIY acoustic panels, and would like to do a little webpage detailing my lessons, but I still have a couple questions before I finish that I think this group could help withmany thanks in advance.

(Please see attached pictures and diagrams below. Any picture requests will be speedily honored.)

The pictures show the panels in my messy living room just lying around before being mounted (screws and drywall anchors). The diagrams show where I'd like to mount the panels (in blue). The only panel not shown will be mounted on the ceiling at the first reflection point. More in my Gallery.

------------------

My questions are numbered for convenience in referencing.

1) Would you change anything with the positioning of the panels, especially on the front wall? Is the number too great on any one wall, should they be moved to a different wall or the ceiling? Is the ceiling worth the trouble of hanging a panel?

2) I need to cover the panels with fabric yet. I've heard light weight, natural fibers, non-shiny. I want to do muslin, but am having a hard time getting it past the aesthetics committee. Anything else to look for? I'm worried about keeping the fiberglass face acoustically un-obscured, especially with the layer of poly fill on there already.

3) For horizontal mounting, though these are pretty light, I'm thinking I should run a 24 dowel across the middle as a brace. They will be mounted at a single point in the middle of the 48 dimension. Anyone have problems with frames warping?

Note: I currently have no sub but am planning on getting an Athena AS-P300 very soon (unless someone want to sell me an AS-P400 for around $160 shipped.)

4) For the frames straddling the wall corner as bass traps, am I wasting my time using only 2 703? Should I instead move those panels to a location on the wall to further help with flutter echo (I'm still failing the clap test)? I could try to tame bass nulls and peaks with a Behringer Feedback Destroyer instead.

5) On another corner bass trap note, should I load the empty space where the bookshelves meet in the corner with something (fiberglass/cinderblocks)?

---------------------------

Misc info:

The panels are 2x24x48 unfaced OC 703 with a thin layer of poly quilt batting on the front/back in a 3/4x2.5 frame.

Speakers are JBL Studio series (s38ii and S-center). JBL N24ii surrounds. No subwoofer, yet, looking to buy an Athena AS-P300.

Room is approx 14x15', 8' ceilings, medium-thick carpet on floor.

To measure effect, using a Radioshack Digital SPL Meter w/ Room EQ Wizard and built in laptop soundcard.



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post #2 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 04:47 PM
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Nice.

Is there nothing for your ceiling?
Are the two bookcases in the front left corner moveable so that bass trapping can be accomodated?

Would you also post any pics of your panel making process here or at basstraps.net?

The abject DIY'ers would really like to see that.

Good luck mate,


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post #3 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 04:48 PM
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Wait, you're in Fall River, do you live near Emeril?





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post #4 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 06:03 PM
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I am no expert, so please take my advice with a large block of salt. But a few things I noticed right away:

No where near enough BASS traps. One corner just won't cut it. At a minimum, you need to do each corner and, if possible, some side wall to ceiling corners. Also, 2" of 703 really isn't enough. At a minimum, I would say 4".

Your window is EXACTLY where it shouldn't be. (Right at an early reflection point.) If you can treat more of that window, you will definitely hear the difference.

If you could possible move the book shelves to the very back wall behind the couch, they would provide excellent diffusion AND free up the front left corner for a bass trap.

On the front wall, as much absorption as possible is a good thing.

Treating the ceiling reflection point is always a good thing, but not a lot of people do it simply due to aesthetics and trouble. However, early reflections are the death of a good front sound stage image...so if you can get it past the wife...I would certainly suggest it.
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel DuBay View Post

Nice.

Is there nothing for your ceiling?
Are the two bookcases in the front left corner moveable so that bass trapping can be accomodated?

Would you also post any pics of your panel making process here or at basstraps.net?

The abject DIY'ers would really like to see that.

Good luck mate,


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I have one panel I'm going to hang about 2 inches from the ceiling at the first reflection point, that is, if most people think it will be more valuable there than hanging at another point on a wall or in a corner.

The two bookcases are just cheap staples bookcases and are not attached to the wall. They make a nice column behind them, so I could stuff it with something, I just don't know if the bass waves would actually reach it or just bounce off the cases/books.

I will get pics of te process in my gallery soon, and I'll post in this thread when I do, butI'd actually like to putup a quick webpage, or maybe just another thread to help others learn as I go.

Never been to basstraps.net, I'll have to check it out.

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post #6 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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JUst moved to NY actually, haven't updated the profile. Never met Emeril, but Fall River did have great food.

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Originally Posted by Joel DuBay View Post

Wait, you're in Fall River, do you live near Emeril?





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post #7 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stima View Post

I am no expert, so please take my advice with a large block of salt. But a few things I noticed right away:

No where near enough BASS traps. One corner just won't cut it. At a minimum, you need to do each corner and, if possible, some side wall to ceiling corners. Also, 2" of 703 really isn't enough. At a minimum, I would say 4".

Your window is EXACTLY where it shouldn't be. (Right at an early reflection point.) If you can treat more of that window, you will definitely hear the difference.

If you could possible move the book shelves to the very back wall behind the couch, they would provide excellent diffusion AND free up the front left corner for a bass trap.

On the front wall, as much absorption as possible is a good thing.

Treating the ceiling reflection point is always a good thing, but not a lot of people do it simply due to aesthetics and trouble. However, early reflections are the death of a good front sound stage image...so if you can get it past the wife...I would certainly suggest it.

Since my room is so small, the smearing is really bad, and I'm afraid diffusion won't help much as the reflections will come so quickly. I really think I need panels at the first reflection points behind the seating (though I could be wrong, convince me?)

I only have two usable corner that I can bass trap (not counting ceiling/walls). The back left corner is the staris, and the fron door opens into the back rigt corner. I could move the bookcase upstairs I guess, but that would take out the media storage from the room.

4" is recommeded for bass traps, but I only had 12 panels worth of OC 703. Should I put the panels double thick, and only half te height of the wall?

The window actually isn't too bad since I can set a panel in it easily. Since my room is so small, my LCR 1st reflection points only span about 2 feet, and can easily be handled by a single panel. I plan on draping the windows soon to help with other room reverbs.

When you say treat the ceiling reflections, are you talking primarily about the front wall/ceiling? I may be able to pull that off.

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post #8 of 25 Old 10-09-2006, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

Since my room is so small, the smearing is really bad, and I'm afraid diffusion won't help much as the reflections will come so quickly. I really think I need panels at the first reflection points behind the seating (though I could be wrong, convince me?)

Again, I preface my replies with: I am not a pro...but it's my understanding the "smearing" is almost completely a function of the early reflections caused by the front wall, side walls and ceiling between the speakers and the listener. The bookcases used as diffusion in the rear would help with late reflections (echos). You really don't want a ton of absorption in the rear. If you start absorbing the surround info, you won't be able to achieve the "ambient" affect surrounds are supposed to produce. The opposite IS desired in front...ie. you do NOT want di-pole speakers for a front stage. Reflections make speech intelligible...that is why people treat the reflection points on the walls and ceiling with OC701...as it absorbs right at the "speech" frequencies @1khz).

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Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

I only have two usable corner that I can bass trap (not counting ceiling/walls). The back left corner is the stairs, and the front door opens into the back right corner. I could move the bookcase upstairs I guess, but that would take out the media storage from the room.

I saw that your corners were pretty covered....but if you moved the cases to the rear, you could still leave the media down stairs and then gain the entire left corner for traps. Also, do NOT hesitate to use the ceiling\\wall corners. A corner is a corner. While the "tri-corners" found in wall\\wall\\ceiling intersections are optimal places for trapping, any corner treatment will help.

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Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

4" is recommended for bass traps, but I only had 12 panels worth of OC 703. Should I put the panels double thick, and only half the height of the wall?

Now that is a good question. I would say double them up and half the height. The 2" just won't be thick enough to effect the bass waves. As a compromise, I would DEFINATELY push half of each doubled up trap into the tri-corners and leave the middle area open. That will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Honestly though, 12 panels really isn't enough to treat a room sufficiently. I would buy one more box and get it all in there some way.

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Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

The window actually isn't too bad since I can set a panel in it easily. Since my room is so small, my LCR 1st reflection points only span about 2 feet, and can easily be handled by a single panel. I plan on draping the windows soon to help with other room reverbs.

Just spend a few extra bucks and get true acoustical curtains. They can have nearly the same absorption coefficients as OC 701 if you look hard enough.

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Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

When you say treat the ceiling reflections, are you talking primarily about the front wall/ceiling? I may be able to pull that off.

Do the same tests you did to find the side wall reflections, but do it for the ceiling. You stated above the area is around 2 feet. There will be that same size area on the ceiling somewhere between the listener and the speakers.
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 04:09 AM
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If at all possible, move the bookcases and the small chest out of the front of the room - especially the bookcases. Address the left front corner the same way you did the right. Not only do you need the additional bottom end control, but you also want the symmetry to be as close as possible in front of your listening position.

As for the side walls, some of that is preference. I personallly would hang the 2 panels vertically on the left wall and replicate it on the right if the window space will allow - again a symmetry thing in front of you.

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post #10 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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If at all possible, move the bookcases and the small chest out of the front of the room - especially the bookcases. Address the left front corner the same way you did the right. Not only do you need the additional bottom end control, but you also want the symmetry to be as close as possible in front of your listening position.

As for the side walls, some of that is preference. I personallly would hang the 2 panels vertically on the left wall and replicate it on the right if the window space will allow - again a symmetry thing in front of you.

Bryan

I'll have to play around with room arranger. I think I'm going to have a hard time getting this past the committee.

I went horizontal so that one panel would cover all the reflection points. Going vertical didn't leave a lot of absorption for off axis seating, and might have put a chunk of wooden frame in the middle of the area I wanted to absorb. The wall between the window and door is also less than 2' wide, so a panel won't fit, and it'snot at a first reflection point. My diagram is probably a little off, sorry.

You're thoughts on 2" 703 from floor to ceiling in a corner versus 2-frames (4" 703) covering only 4' of a corner?

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post #11 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Again, I preface my replies with: I am not a pro...but it's my understanding the "smearing" is almost completely a function of the early reflections caused by the front wall, side walls and ceiling between the speakers and the listener. The bookcases used as diffusion in the rear would help with late reflections (echos). You really don't want a ton of absorption in the rear. If you start absorbing the surround info, you won't be able to achieve the "ambient" affect surrounds are supposed to produce. The opposite IS desired in front...ie. you do NOT want di-pole speakers for a front stage. Reflections make speech intelligible...that is why people treat the reflection points on the walls and ceiling with OC701...as it absorbs right at the "speech" frequencies @1khz).

Should I still treat a small area right behind the listening position at ear level so speech doesn't bounce off the back wall and hit me in the ears?

Did you mean "Reflections make speech unintelligible ? I didn't understand how reflections could make speech more clear.

Quote:


I saw that your corners were pretty covered....but if you moved the cases to the rear, you could still leave the media down stairs and then gain the entire left corner for traps.

See previous post comment on "the committee". I'm going to play with room arranger and see what I can do. What about putting one of the tall bookcase in each corner? Could I put cinderblocks or concrete behind to make an effective bass trap?


Quote:


Honestly though, 12 panels really isn't enough to treat a room sufficiently. I would buy one more box and get it all in there some way.

Unfortunately, I'm about $300 into room absorption already, and I haven't even bought fabric to cover them yet (another reason I want to go with muslin; it's cheap? ANy sources for dyed muslin, something in a blue?) I also need to buy a subwoofer I think (Athena AS-P300). More absorption may have to wait.


Quote:


Just spend a few extra bucks and get true acoustical curtains. They can have nearly the same absorption coefficients as OC 701 if you look hard enough.

Any recommended brands?


Quote:


Do the same tests you did to find the side wall reflections, but do it for the ceiling. You stated above the area is around 2 feet. There will be that same size area on the ceiling somewhere between the listener and the speakers.

Already done. I'm thinking of putting a wooden dowel accross the front and middle of the 2' dimension to prevent sagging of the 703, covering the whole mess with natural colored muslin (a little darker than theceiling color) and suspending the panel abot 2 inches from the ceiling using thin, white chain. I think it will look pretty nice, but it is a lot of work if the results won't be worth it.

Thanks for all your help, past, present, and future.

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post #12 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

I only have two usable corner that I can bass trap (not counting ceiling/walls). The back left corner is the staris, and the fron door opens into the back rigt corner. I could move the bookcase upstairs I guess, but that would take out the media storage from the room.

Tricorners are ideal but any boundary intersection is useful. Consider floor/wall and ceiling/wall intersections for bass trapping.

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post #13 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:37 AM
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Should I still treat a small area right behind the listening position at ear level so speech doesn't bounce off the back wall and hit me in the ears?

IMHO, yes if you are close to that wall. You do not need hefty material since your primary concern here is with MF/HF, not bass (unless you need that, too).

Quote:


Did you mean "Reflections make speech unintelligible ? I didn't understand how reflections could make speech more clear.

I believe that is what he meant. Let me add that, while one can overdamp a room, it requires much more than you are contemplating.

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post #14 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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IMHO, yes if you are close to that wall. You do not need hefty material since your primary concern here is with MF/HF, not bass (unless you need that, too).

I believe that is what he meant. Let me add that, while one can overdamp a room, it requires much more than you are contemplating.

The listening position is about 3-4 feet from the back wall (I've been playing with moving my viewing distance a little closer).

I'm setting up an imageshack account right now. I'll post some construction pics, as requested by Joel, and also my sweeps from Room EQ Wizard (measured response and waterfall is what I should post, right?). I don't know how much help they'll be though, since my low frequency performance will change with the addition of a subwoofer in the next couple weeks.

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I don't know how much help they'll be though, since my low frequency performance will change with the addition of a subwoofer in the next couple weeks.

But your room modes won't.

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post #16 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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But your room modes won't.

True, I've got a wicked peak at 30hz, and a null a little north of that. See below post of graphs. I'm thinking I could take them out electronically wth a Behringer Feedback Destroyer. Any experience with that? I see a lot of manufacturers are using a similar and vastly more expensive system built into their subwoofers.

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I assume you will retain that peak/null even after all treatments as it would be surprising if you got any effective treatment at those frequencies. Fortunately, that's not a biggie unless the room really rings there. I have not used a BFD but it can help there; I would do that last, after all treatment and positioning.

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post #18 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, Here's the quick and dirty construction run down. This is not necessarily what you should do, just what I did.

Step one: For each frame you'll need 2 pieces of wood 4' long, and 2 pieces of wood 2'1.5" long (for 3/4" thick wood). Makes the interior dimensions 4'x2'. You'll also need a drill and some screws.

Word to the wise, the 4' lengths sold at Lowes are more like 3'11.5". I had to do a lot of squeezing, but at least the fiberglass is in there solid.



Drill starter holes 3/8" in from the end of your 2' pieces using a bit appropriate for your screws. I also used a larger bit to indent the starter holes a little so that the screw heads fit flush. Wear glasses or goggles.



Using the holes in the 2' pieces,drill starter holes into te 4' pieces. Careful not to snap your drill bit by letting the boards slip (yep, that's me). Screw them together to make a frame.



After all your frames are made, open up your fiberglass.



Yes, I'm working with fiberglass in my kitchen, and without gloves or a mask. Not bright, but I wasn't cutting it, so there wasn't much mess.

If you are concerned about fibers getting out (ironic, based on my care up to this point), you need some thin poly quilt batting. I bought the 90" variety which was more than stretchy enough to cover my 48" panels times 2 sides without cutting.



Cut a pice of poly 90"x 28-30", fold it in half, and put a piece of fiberglass inside



At this point, I wrapped the edges in tape to keep the poly in place while I squeezed it into the frame.


With the frame face down, squeeze the poly/fiberglass into it, starting with the narrow ends. If your frames are too small (me again), this will take a little breaking down of the edges.

Once it's in, flip it over and you have a perfectly faced panel.



Now, to find som suitable fabric to cover it with...


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post #19 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's some graphs from Room EQ wizard. As you can see, my symmetry isn't too bad until I get down below 300 HZ.

W/O Panels - 1/3 octave smoothing

W/Panels

Waterfalls - 300ms

L W/O Panels

L W/ Panels

R W/O Panels

R W/ Panels

Sorry for not just doing a before after overlay, but I did a full compliment w/o panels, saved that set, and then did a newset w/ panels. Even after importing measured responses and impulse data, the imported data does not match the initial data set. Can anyone help me, am I doing something wrong w/ REQWizard? Should I just post them anyway?

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post #20 of 25 Old 10-10-2006, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

Should I still treat a small area right behind the listening position at ear level so speech doesn't bounce off the back wall and hit me in the ears?

Yeah, I would say just above ear level is good for those exact reasons.
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Originally Posted by eugovector View Post

Did you mean "Reflections make speech unintelligible ? I didn't understand how reflections could make speech more clear.

OOPS!! Yeah...UNintelligible.

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See previous post comment on "the committee". I'm going to play with room arranger and see what I can do. What about putting one of the tall bookcase in each corner? Could I put cinderblocks or concrete behind to make an effective bass trap?

Concrete is NOT bass trap material as far as I know...neither are book cases. I am not certian what to tell you besides take everyones advice and use more fiberglass.

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Unfortunately, I'm about $300 into room absorption already, and I haven't even bought fabric to cover them yet (another reason I want to go with muslin; it's cheap? ANy sources for dyed muslin, something in a blue?) I also need to buy a subwoofer I think (Athena AS-P300). More absorption may have to wait.

One more box will go a long way. Whats a 100$ more in the grand scheme of things. If not, you seriously need to consider doing the tri-corners only to maximize your material.

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Any recommended brands?


Actually, I am looking right now for myself. If I find something, I will let you know.
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post #21 of 25 Old 10-31-2006, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've finished a panel!!





Man, covering these things takes a lot of time and staples.

So, I found 40 yards of fairly loose woven cotten fabric at Wal-Mart for $1/yard. They only had 20 yards of each, so I had to get two shades. The Darker one above, and a lighter blue (approximated in the diagrams below).

Considering aesthetics, here's what I'm thinking for placement.



I also added an Athena AS-P300 Sub and Behringer BFD 1100P. Here's the before and after results.


Listen to the Real HT Info Podcast at http://realht.info, including video reviews at my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/realhtinfo/videos
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post #22 of 25 Old 11-01-2006, 12:39 AM
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I seriously need to consider a BFD to smooth out my bass.

How did you do the overlay in EQ Wizard?
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post #23 of 25 Old 11-01-2006, 04:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stima View Post

I seriously need to consider a BFD to smooth out my bass.

How did you do the overlay in EQ Wizard?

Ran audio out from my laptop to the aux in of my receiver. Set the crossover in my receiver. Recorded the response in REW Left channel. Set filters, send to BFD. Record into Right channel, tweak, Record into center channel, compare, and on, and on.

After I got everything how I liked it, I recorded the results into the right channel, and showed the measured responses, 1/3 octave smoothed, for left (before) and right (after), then snapped a jpeg.

REW is very awesome.

As Ethan has noted hundreds of times, BFD didn't do anything for ringing, in other words, according to my waterfalls, my 40hz frequencies still bounce around the room twice a longs as the others. However, since they aren't nearly as loud as they were before BFD, I don't notice it as much.

Listen to the Real HT Info Podcast at http://realht.info, including video reviews at my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/realhtinfo/videos
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post #24 of 25 Old 11-14-2006, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, back wall is done (man these tings are taking for ever!)

Here are the painted cleats I used to hang them:



Here's a single panel, showing the gap from the wall:



Here's the final back wall:



It looks great. With the cleats painted, the panels appear to float 3/4" off the wall, just kind of hanging in mid air. The panels actualy look very arty, especially glad I went with multiple colors and got a little creative with the placement.

Listen to the Real HT Info Podcast at http://realht.info, including video reviews at my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/realhtinfo/videos
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post #25 of 25 Old 05-20-2007, 12:38 PM
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Nice...

There is a new DIY Bass Trap build tutorial with lots of pics that folks planning to emulate your project may find helpful here:

http://forum.studiotips.com/viewtopic.php?t=534

scroll to the bottom

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